Treat Customers Fairly. Or You May Be Sorry

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Barely a day goes by without one company or another being lambasted in the media for deceptive marketing, unfair pricing or shoddy customer service.

Central to much of this is the perception of many customers of being treated unfairly: Whether being offered a worse deal as a loyal customer than a non-customer (take your pick of companies), being offered a worse price through a google served link than if you went to the website directly (European airline) or being treated poorly when a flight gets cancelled (Alaska Airlines and JetBlue).

Clearly, treating customers fairly is becoming more important than perhaps it has been in the past. In the past, unfair treatment would just result in complaints to a dozen close friends & family. Companies could get away with treating customers unfairly and did. Today, with social media like blogs or YouTube, the same complaint can quickly reach millions. It can also result in companies losing serious money through bad press and in C-level executives getting humbled.

What do you think? Is customer fairness growing in importance or it is just media noise?

Post a comment and let’s get CRMGuru2.0 buzzing.

Graham Hill
Independent CRM Consultant
Interim CRM Manager

2 COMMENTS

  1. you are right Graham.In my opinion, it is not just media noice. the cuurent day customer needs more fair treatment than the actual service.
    I was the customer relations manager in a housing finance company in India. When interest rates were on the sliding trend, the industry was facing a lot of exodus due to take over of loans.Many customers who were in the fixed rate of interest shifted their loans to other banks in order to avail the latest rates as well as the floating rate.
    However, some customers who cherish the relationship more than the financil transactions, remained with the company. One customer even went to the extent of saying,”Hi Sam, if the rate of interest alone is the factor for our relationship, I shall close a major part of my outstanding loan and remain with you, since the arithmetic amount of interest I am going to lose even if difference in the rates between you and others be more than one percent. I cherish your fairness and transparency.”
    I was surprised to hear the same type of response from none other than a senior scientific advisor to the first citizen of the country.
    So, forget the media. be as you are and your customer shall be with you.
    Kandaswamy C
    Manager IT
    Life Insurance Corporation of India,
    Chennai, India
    [email protected]

  2. Kandaswamy

    Many thanks for your response. And thanks for the interesting story from your company.

    It is important for companies to know that not all customers are driven by price (and the majority of customers aren’t), but it is just as important for customers to know that some companies will reward them for their loyalty and their profitability (sadly, these companies are still in the minority).

    This is a complicated area, as Werner Reinartz’s work has shown. Customer fairness is another factor that is now becoming important in this area too.

    As the Internet provides ever more information about companies and their reputations to customers, the worst companies will have to improve their game or risk declining profitability.

    Graham Hill

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